Good Sips: Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer by emily penn

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My Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer was such a hit, I knew I had to keep the ball rolling. And I am never above the “basic” seasonal delights. Peppermint Mochas are the shit and while I definitely don’t want all the extra sugar and potentially weird ingredients from other creamers and syrups, I’m most definitely chasing that flavor combo.

The coffee creamers in stores are pretty sad - even the supposed “healthy” brands. They almost always have some form of undesirable sugar or thickener or preservative or SOMETHING. This is so easy to make yourself, it’s a no-brainer. And it is SO good. I’ve been known to take straight sips from the jar. No judgement, okay?

Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer

Make approximately 2 cups

Ingredients
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tbsp MCT oil (or other neutral tasting oil, no vegetable oil please)
4 dates, pitted and soaked in warm water
1/2 tsp peppermint extract or 1 drop of peppermint essential oil
dash of salt

Instructions

1.    Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high for 30 seconds.
2. Taste a little bit. If you like it super minty, add another 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract or drop of oil.
3. Add to all your favorite hot bevvies!

Notes
* There is A LOT of controversy about ingesting essential oils so do your research and do what feels best for you. If you do decide to ingest them, make sure you trust the quality.
* Don’t skip the oil - it helps emulsify the coconut milk so that it doesn’t separate and get hard in the fridge.
* Coconut consistencies vary wildly between brands and even within brands! Using full fat coconut milk yields a very thick creamer, but a light coconut milk will give you a more pourable consistency. You can use other non-dairy milks, but it might not be as creamy as the coconut.
* My favorite MCT oil

Mood Boosting Holiday Hot Chocolate by emily penn

I don’t know about you, but pretty much everything feels better when I have a big old mug of hot chocolate in my hands. And what makes me feel even better is when that hot chocolate is actually going to be supporting my body with real food, unprocessed sweeteners and maybe even some adaptogens (herbs that support our body’s stress response and help bring systems into balance).

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This time of year has me jonesin’ for a warm drink in my hand at all times. It also tends to increase stress levels by way of lots of social engagements, busy shopping everywhere, crowded parking lots, heightened emotions, rampant germs, etc.

I’m all about food as medicine (in case that wasn’t abundantly clear by now) so I really like my foods and beverages to be functional. And I also want them to taste damn good. And so I present you with this Mood Boosting Hot Chocolate, specifically crafted for the holiday season (because honestly, when else do you drink hot chocolate?).

Cacao has huge mood-boosting benefits - it stimulates the release of endorphins, it contains tyrosine which is a precursor to dopamine, and is actually incredibly good for your brain. Dates contain magnesium, which is a mineral known to be relaxing and which is easily depleted during times of stress (and which 80% of Americans don’t get enough of). I’d recommend using milk with a little bit of fat in it (or add a teaspoon of coconut oil) since fat is essential for brain health.

This basic recipe is all you need to kick back with a relaxing hot bevvie, but you could further boost the de-stressing properties with any of the optional add-ins I’ve listed. Beside each I let you know what the main affect on mood or stress is.

Mood Boosting Holiday Hot Chocolate

serves 1

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Ingredients
12-16 oz your favorite non-dairy milk
1 tbsp cacao powder
1 medjool date
pinch of salt

optional (mood-boosting) add ins
ashwagandha - supports stress response, immune booster
rhodiola - supports stress response, immune booster
reishi - supports stress response, immune booster
chaga - supports stress response
vitamin D - promotes positive mood
tocos - vitamin e, antioxidants, supports skin, plus adds creaminess
collagen - supports gut health, will make your drink extra foamy!
lavender - supports relaxation
peppermint extract - supports relaxation
Rasa Koffee - blend your hot chocolate with some of this in place of milk to get extra EXTRA support from stress-busting adaptogens

Instructions

  1. Add non-dairy milk, cacao powder, date, salt and any other add-ins you desire to small saucepan over medium heat. Gently warm until it’s to your preferred drinking temperature.

  2. Transfer to a blender and blend 30-60 seconds, until date is totally incorporated.

  3. Pour into your favorite mug, get cozy doing something that relaxes you and enjoy!

Notes

  • If I don’t have non-dairy milk around (which is more often than not) I use either 2-4 tbsp full fat coconut milk or 1 tbsp coconut butter + water.

  • Mountain Rose Herbs is where I get most of my herbs and superfoods.

  • These are the vitamin D drops I recommend. They’re flavorless and I love adding them to these sorts of drinks since fat helps our bodies absorb the vitamin D.

Good Medicine Everyday: Parsnips by emily penn

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Parsnips - the underrated root veg. Have you had them before? They look like white carrots. They’re a little sweet. Creamy on the inside when roasted. I LOVE them!

My favorite thing to do with them is cut them into strips and make parsnip “fries” but you can also cut them in whatever shape you like and roast them with some oil, salt and pepper. You can also steam and mash them (think with mashed potatoes or cauliflower), use them in soups and stews. I consider them a highlight of the winter vegetable selection. They’re sweet and creamy and have a very grounding quality to them

Lucky for me (and you!) they’re also chock full of compounds that support our health. Let’s check it out (1):

  • Parsnips have an impressively high vitamin C content, making them great for our immune system and eye health.

  • They’re high in fiber, which keeps the good bacteria in your gut happy and also keeps everything moving so you avoid constipation.

  • Folate - just 1/2 cup of parsnips contains 11% of your daily folate, which is pretty awesome! Folate is an essential nutrient that we need for gum health, brain health and to avoid birth defects.

  • Parsnips also contain manganese, which supports bone health.